George Municipality would like to remind the public that in terms of the Covid-19 National Disaster Regulations published on 29 December 2020, George and surrounds remains a declared Covid-19 Hotspot. The enforcement of the Disaster Regulations remains the responsibility of the South African Police Service with municipal law enforcement officials primarily enforcing municipal by-laws.
Executive Mayor Leon Van Wyk today wished everyone a safe and peaceful new year. “We have experienced a very tough year and although you may wish to throw caution to the wind to relax and enjoy yourself tonight, we ask that you do so responsibly and with care for your fellow South Africans, family and friends. Please always wear a mask, practice social distancing and hand hygiene and continue to avoid crowded places, confined spaces and close contact. “
The public is reminded that the amended regulations include a new curfew between 21h00 and 06h00 with non-compliance being a punishable offense and which can result in fines, imprisonment, or both a fine and imprisonment. Apart from emergency services and essential workers, no one may leave their homes between 21:00 and 06:00, unless for medical or safety emergencies. Holidaymakers travelling home must ensure that they plan their travelling homewards accordingly and please note no law enforcement agency will issue permits to allow any exceptions to the curfew.
The correct and consistent wearing of a face mask when in public remains mandatory and is now a punishable offence if not adhered to.
No persons are allowed on any of the beaches located within the George Municipal area to walk, run, fish, swim, surf or walk your dog on the beaches. Grassy areas and parking lots at beach sites remain open to the public and will be monitored by municipal Law Enforcement officials in terms of adherence to municipal by-laws including the consumption of alcohol, fireworks etc. Law Enforcement officials can demand that gatherings disperse. Access is also prohibited to lagoons, rivers, dams and estuaries with public swimming pools in George and surrounds remaining closed. Swimming pools in residential complexes are not regarded as public facilities. George Municipality will still deploy their life guards on the municipal beaches. They will only be there to respond to water related emergencies. Unfortunately they will not be able to indicate swimming areas and will at all times indicate that the swimming beach is closed. Please respect their role as lifeguards and understand they are not law enforcement officials.
Note the restrictions in section 84, subsection 9 of the Regulations, which deals specifically with the hotspot areas. All beaches are off-limits for all purposes in the greater George and surrounds- including fishing and diving from the beaches – regardless of whether the angler has a valid fishing permit.
OLD YEARS EVE GATHERINGS AND FIREWORKS
Municipal law enforcers including traffic officials will hold several roadblocks to ensure compliance with the municipal by-laws and the road traffic act. Offenders are kindly warned that a policy of zero tolerance will be followed and that strict action will be taken against non-adherence to municipal by-laws.
The George Municipality reminds residents and visitors that fireworks, fire crackers, flares, paper lanterns and other such paraphernalia are considered a major fire risk and are not allowed in public or private spaces in the municipal area. Under the George Municipal Community Fire Safety By-Law no fireworks may be discharged and there are no designated sites for fireworks in the George municipal area. Visitors are reminded that George is part of a biosphere and contains extensive nature conservation areas. The discharge of fireworks poses a huge risk to the start of vegetation fires putting lives and homes at risk, not to mention the suffering of animals due to the fireworks. Complaints of fireworks being discharged can be done at the George Fire Department at 044 801 6300. The selling of fireworks is also illegal, and no such permits have been issued or will be issued by the George Municipality. The illegal trading, possession and/or setting off of fireworks carry fines of R300 (up to R1500) and fireworks will be confiscated.
Please report illegal trade and setting off of fireworks in George to Law Enforcement at 044 801 6350 or after hours at 044 801 6300. Please report illegal, irresponsible and unsafe fires to the Fire Department on 044 801 6300 with fire emergencies reported to 044 801 6311
The George Municipal Disaster management Joint Operations Centre will remain active throughout the festive season and officials will remain available to deal with complaints and enquiries. 044 801 6316
The amended regulations are in place up to and including 15 January 2021 and are being implemented to relieve extreme pressure on all medical facilities and to curb the rapid spread of Coronavirus. George Mayor, Leon Van Wyk issued a plea to the public to consider their fellow South Africans at all times and to adhere to the regulations in order to continue curbing the rapid spread of the virus. “The Garden Route is showing a positive downward curve in infections, but only the consistent application of the regulations will keep the curve going in the right direction,” he said.
Everyone is asked to consistently follow the following preventive measures:
- Carefully maintain a 1.5-meter distance between you and the next person. This is especially important should you have to queue anywhere.
- Wear your face mask diligently, and always ensure that the rest of your family wear their masks. The face mask helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- Disinfect and/or wash your hands regularly, especially before touching objects handled by other persons and before touching your face.
- Keep your family gatherings small and keep the curfew in mind.
Note: The published Disaster Regulations for 29 December 2020 are available in full on the George Municipal website https://www.george.gov.za/george-documents/covid-19-documents/level-1/